Several of American Steeplechasing’s rising stars have been nominated to the $100,000 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle, one of four stakes races on the program for the 94th annual Far Hills Races on Saturday, Oct. 18. First post time at Moorland Farms will be 1 p.m.
The Foxbrook, run at 2 1/2 miles over National Fences, very likely will play a major role in determining the champion of the National Steeplechase Association’s novice division, which is limited to horses in their first years of competition over fences. Bluegrass Summer, winner of a Foxbrook division last year, reigned as 2013’s champion novice.
This year, no one has had any trouble finding Irv Naylor’s Address Unknown. Since the richly bred seven-year-old made the transition from flat racing to steeplechasing, he’s gone to the winner’s circle three times in four starts. Most recently, he defeated a high-quality field in Belmont Park’s $75,000 William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes on Sept. 18.
Trained by Cyril Murphy, Address Unknown has racked up earnings of $91,500 and leads all novices by total purses.
Right on his heels is Edith Dixon’s Schoodic, who is no stranger to the Far Hills course. A year ago, he blazed to victory in the Gladstone Stakes and ultimately was crowned the sport’s champion three-year-old. He has been inconsistent this year, but he is devastating when at his best.
Trained by Jack Fisher, Schoodic handed Address Unknown his only defeat when winning Saratoga Race Course’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes by four lengths over his rival on Aug. 14. In the Entenmann, he finished seventh.
Several of the 14 Foxbrook nominees competed in the Entenmann. Rodman W. Moorhead III’s All the Way Jose finished second in the Entenmann after easily winning a Saratoga allowance hurdle on Aug. 27. He is trained by Racing Hall of Fame member Jonathan Sheppard.
Clorevia Farm’s Dr. Skip, coming back to the races after a fall in a division of last year’s Foxbrook, finished third in the Entenmann, and also was nominated to Far Hills’ $250,000 Grand National (Gr. 1). Foxbrook nominee Choral Society finished fourth in the Entenmann for owner Petticoats Loose Farm and trainer Murphy.
Fisher, currently the sport’s leading trainer, also nominated two contenders owned by Gil Johnston. Syros, a Saratoga allowance winner, finished fifth in the Entenmann, and Dahoud, winner of the 2012 AFLAC Supreme Hurdle at the Steeplechase at Callaway in Georgia, was unplaced in the W. Gary Baker Memorial on Oct. 4, his first start in almost two years.
Trainer Richard Valentine nominated Anne Pape’s Fog Island, winner of the 2012 Foxbrook. He most recently finished fourth in the Walsh.
Here are the 14 nominees to the Foxbrook Champion Hurdle.
Address Unknown (GB). 2007 b. g., Oasis Dream (GB)—Return, by Sadler’s Wells. Owner: Irvin S. Naylor. Trainer: Cyril Murphy2014 record: 4-3-1-0, $91,500. In most recent start, won Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes. Finished second in Saratoga’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes on Aug. 14 after impressive victory in Monmouth Park optional allowance hurdle on June 13. Won $25,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle at Fair Hill Races on May 24 in first start over fences. Juddmonte-bred was handicap winner on flat in England but needed at least two miles to show his best.
All the Way Jose. 2010 b. g., Senor Swinger—Maternity Leave, by Northern Baby. Owner: Rodman W. Moorhead III. Trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. 2014 record: 5-2-3-0, $89,700. Finished second in Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes after winning Saratoga allowance hurdle by 14 1/4 lengths. Close second in earlier Saratoga allowance hurdle. Collected maiden victory at Parx Racing on July 1.
Choral Society. 2009 gr. or ro. g., Holy Bull—Star Singer, by Awesome Again. Owner: Petticoats Loose Farm. Trainer: Cyril Murphy. 2014 record: 4-2-0-1, $39,250. Most recently finished fourth in Belmont Park’s $75,000 William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes on Sept. 18. Won Parx Racing allowance hurdle on July 1 after game victory in tough $25,000 Sport of Kings maiden hurdle at Monmouth Park on June 13.
Dahoud (NZ). 2006 b. g., Scaredee Cat—Aiglette, by Krona. Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. 2014 record: 1-0-0-0, $1,200. In his first start since winning 2012 AFLAC Supreme Hurdle at the Steeplechase at Callaway in Georgia, finished sixth in the W. Gary Baker Memorial at Virginia Fall on Oct. 4. Was Grade 2-placed at Santa Anita Park in 2011.
Dr. Skip. 2008 ch. g., Eddington—Mz. Ann, by Citidancer. Owner: Clorevia Farm. Trainer: Edward Graham. 2014 record: 1-0-0-1, $3,500. 2013 record: 5-2-0-0, $36,000. In first start since losing rider in division of Far Hills’ Foxbrook Champion Hurdle last year, finished third in Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes on Sept. 18.
Fog Island. 2006 b. g., Rossini—Orchid Island, by Broad Brush. Owner: Anne Pape. Trainer: Richard Valentine. 2014 record: 3-0-0-0, $6,750. 2013 record: 3-0-1-0, $12,750. Finished fourth in Saratoga’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes on Aug. 14. Finished fifth in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes after being pulled up in the Calvin Houghland Iroquois (Gr. 1) on May 10. Abbreviated 2013 season began with second in Carolina Cup. Won the 2012 Foxbrook Champion Hurdle.
Foolish Surprise. 2007 b. g., Ormsby—Clever Tace, by Waquoit. Owner-trainer: Benjamin Swope. 2014 record: 3-1-1-0, $18,300. 2013 record: 6-0-1-2, $7,300. Homebred won maiden hurdle at Stoneybrook Steeplechase in April and most recently finished second in a Radnor Hunt Cup allowance hurdle on May 17.
Long House Saint (Ire). 2009 b. g., Antonius Pius—Mintaka (Ire), by Fairy King. Owner: Rosbrian Farm. Trainer: Ricky Hendriks. 2014 NSA record: No starts. Recent import scored maiden victory over fences in August at Kilbeggan Race Course in Ireland.
One Giant Step. 2006 b. g., Mojave Moon—Gemini’s Gem, by Gemini Dreamer. Owner-trainer: Jonathan Sheppard. 2014 record: No starts. 2013 record: No starts. Making his first start since finishing fourth in 2011 Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes. Finished second in 2011 William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes.
Private Equity (Fr). 2008 b. g., High Yield—Annette Girl (Ire), by Mtoto (GB). Owner: Jacqueline Ohrstrom. Trainer: Richard Valentine. 2014 record: No starts. 2013 NSA record. 1-0-0-0, $0. Making first start of the year. In first U.S. start last year, pulled up in the Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes at Saratoga Race Course.
Schoodic. 2010 b. g., Tiznow—Aunt Henny, by Hennessy. Owner: Edith R. Dixon. Trainer: Jack Fisher. 2014 record: 5-2-0-1, $67,500. 2013 record: 2-2-0-0, $30,000. Scored impressive win in Saratoga’s Michael G. Walsh Novice Stakes before finishing seventh in Belmont Park’s William Entenmann Novice Stakes on Sept. 18. Pulled up in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes on July 24 after being jostled in tight company. Lost his first race over fences when third in Iroquois Steeplechase’s Marcellus Frost Novice Stakes on May 10. Won 2013 three-year-old championship in campaign that included wins in Far Hills’ Gladstone Stakes and Colonial Cup’s Raymond G. Woolfe Memorial.
Syros. 2008 b. g., Dynaformer—Meridiana (Ger), by Lomitas (GB). Owner: Gil Johnston. Trainer: Jack Fisher. 2014 NSA record: 7-2-1-2, $63,600. 2013 record: 3-0-0-1, $3,250. Finished fifth in Belmont Park’s $75,000 William Entenmann Memorial Novice Stakes on Sept. 18 after win in Saratoga allowance hurdle. Also finished third in Saratoga allowance hurdle on July 23. Won Virginia Gold Cup maiden claimer by more than 30 lengths on May 3, then was second in Jay Trump starter allowance hurdle at the High Hope Steeplechase on May 18. Won a Belmont Park $35,000 claimer on June 15.
Tempt Me Alex. 2009 b. g., Afleet Alex—Attemptress, by Meadowlake. Owner: Robert A. Kinsley. Trainer: Elizabeth Voss Murray. 2014 record: 3-1-0-1, $23,500. 2013 record: 6-1-2-1, $24,900. Pulled up in Saratoga’s Jonathan Kiser Novice Stakes on July 24. Won Iroquois Steeplechase’s Bright Hour Stakes by more than four lengths on May 10. In first start of the year, finished third in Foxfield Spring’s Daniel Van Clief Memorial optional allowance hurdle. Won maiden victory in final 2013 start, at the Steeplechase at Callaway in Georgia.
Witor (Ger). 2008 b. g., Dashing Blade—Wurfspiel, by Lomitas (GB). Owner: Merriefield Farm. Trainer: Todd Wyatt. 2014 record: 4-0-0-0, $6,750. 2013 record: No starts. Finished fifth in Saratoga allowance hurdle on Aug. 6 and sixth in a similar race three weeks later. After missing all of 2013 season, returned with a fourth in a Middleburg Spring races optional allowance hurdle on April 19 and a fifth in a tough starter allowance hurdle at the Virginia Gold Cup on May 2.